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Arch of General Staff Building from Bolshaya Morskaya Street. Circa 1827

Canoppi Antonio,
Oil on canvas
147 х 146

State Russian Museum

Пост.: 1929 из Гатчинского дворца-музея; ранее - в ИЭ


The reconstruction of the square in front of the Winter Palace in the spirit of the grandiose Roman Forums was designed by architect Carlo Rossi. The huge General Staff Building was erected across from the Winter Palace, where there formerly stood buildings of different sizes and styles. Two of its sections, arranged in an arc, are linked together by a monumental arch over Bolshaya Morskaya Street at the entrance of Palace Square. The ceremonial opening of the arch occurred on 1 October 1928.
By order of the Imperial Court, Antonio Canoppi began working on his canvases before the arch was completed, using Rossi’s initial sketches. It was assumed that the paintings would decorate a gallery of views of St Petersburg in one of the halls of the Winter Palace. On 30 March 1827, however, the Construction Committee accepted Rossi’s new sketches, which would be reproduced in life. Thus, Canoppi’s works show how the arch of the General Staff Building could have looked, if the initial version of its decoration had been realised.

Author's Biography

Canoppi Antonio

Canoppi, Antonio
1774, Modena – 1832, St Petersburg
Italian painter, theatrical designer. Son of a court engineer of the Duke of Modena. Studied under Antonio Canova. Member of the Accademia di Belle Arti in Bologna and Milan. Left Italy after Napoleon’s invasion, worked in Vienna. Invited to Russia by Count Alexei Razumovsky (1805). Accepted Russian citizenship. Worked in Moscow and St Petersburg. Nominated to the Imperial Academy of Arts (1813) for drawings and paintings. In the second half of the 1800s painted the Evangelists and Lord Sabaoth in the cupola of the Kazan Cathedral, destroyed during repair work (1820). Designed for the Imperial Theatres (1815–1832). Taught at a drama school.

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